Letter from the Director!
THE DANGERS OF WINTER COATS AND CAR SEATS
Winter brings cold weather and potentially slick roads, but families still need to travel every day. We bundle up our children to help them brave the elements, but a bulky coat and a car seat can be a dangerous combination. There are ways to safely transport children in child car seats while still keeping them warm.
As a general rule, winter coats should not be worn underneath a car seat harness because that can leave the harness too loose to be effective in a crash. Here’s a simple way to check whether your child’s coat is too big to wear underneath a harness:
Step 1. Put the coat on your child, sit him or her in the car seat, and fasten the harness. Tighten the harness until you can no longer pinch any of the webbing with your thumb and forefinger.
Step 2. Without loosening the harness at all, unhook it and remove your child from the car seat. Take the coat off, put your child back in the car seat, and buckle the harness straps which should be adjusted just as they were when the child was wearing the coat. If you can pinch the webbing between your thumb and forefinger now, then the coat is too bulky to be worn under the harness.
How to Bundle Up Safely
If you find that the coat can’t be safely worn under the harness, here are a couple things you can do:
Ø For smaller children, put a blanket over them to keep warm.
Ø For a bigger child, after securing him or her in the car seat, turn the coat around and put it on backward (with arms through the armholes) so that the back of the coat serves as a blanket resting on top of the harness.